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Earn More with Google’s Web Stories Playbook via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google published a Web Stories Playbook that provides in-depth information on how to succeed with the new format. At over one hundred pages long the document begins with an overview and proceeds to progressively more advanced advice designed to encourage more traffic, engagement and earnings.

Web Stories

Web Stories is a new format that Google shows in Search and Discover. The format is designed to provide “snackable” content to consumers who are on the go.

But as the Web Stories Playbook makes clear the new format has many uses that can help publishers make their websites more engaging with site visitors and increase earnings from advertising or even affiliate links.

Web stories helps publishers reach new audiences. They can also keep visitors on the site longer to view more advertisements, the format can be used to convert visitors into sales or inspired to click on affiliate links.

Web stories can be monetized in multiple ways, including affiliate links, sponsored content, programmatic ads or directly sold advertisements.

Google also provides support in the form of a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to create Web Stories.

The new playbook is intended to teach publishers how to incorporate web stories into a website.

Screenshot of a Page from the Web Stories Playbook

Screenshot of Web Stories Playbook

Screenshot of Web Stories Playbook

Although the Web Stories Playbook is over one hundred pages long, each page contains two paragraphs or less of words. This format makes it easy to read and understand.

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What’s Inside the Web Stories Playbook

The playbook is divided into three sections:

  1. Overview
    Describes how web stories are useful to publishers for finding new audiences and giving them a faster way to consume content.
  2. Entry Points
    Describes the different ways web stories can integrate into a website, and how to customize how site visitors engage with them.
  3. More Design Details
    Offers a comprehensive review of best practices in design for encouraging more engagement with readers.

This is how the Web Stories Playbook describes its purpose:

Get the most out of Web Stories.
This playbook will help you incorporate Web Stories into your website, so you can reach new audiences and help readers connect with content they’ll love.”

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Entry Points

The Entry Points and More Design Details section cover their topics in depth. For example there are five different kinds of “entry points” that the playbook focuses on one by one so that a publisher will attain an expert level of understanding.

The Entry Points section describes how there are five different entry points:

  • Singleton
  • Carousel
  • Compact display
  • Author highlight
  • Dedicated page

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Next it shows one by one how the five different “entry points” fit into a web page as part of an overall strategy for engaging visitors.

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Lastly, this section links to a Design Kit where files can be downloaded and used to create the different entry points.

Screenshot of Web Stories Design Kit Page

Screenshot of Web Stories Design Kit Web Page

Screenshot of Web Stories Design Kit Web Page

More Design Details: Best Practices

In the More Design Details section the playbook teaches best practices for content and page layout then moves on to how to customize the web stories further.

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Screenshot of an Overview Page from the Web Stories Playbook

Screenshot of Web Stories Overview

Screenshot of Web Stories Overview

The document ends with links to three more resources:

  1. Guide to Using Stories on your Site
  2. Web Story tools and CMSes
  3. Technical Documentation for Web Stories

The guide links to a Web Stories GitHub and Slack channel but the Slack link appears to be broken…

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Screenshot Showing the Carousels Page from the Web Stories Playbook

Screenshot showing a page from Google's web stories playbook

Screenshot showing a page from Google's web stories playbook

Download the Web Stories Playbook

Google’s web stories playbook is over one hundred pages long but most pages are full of illustrations that show the best practices and lessons. So it’s not as long as it may appear to be.

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Nevertheless there’s quite a bit of useful information for publishers of all skill levels with the web stories format.

Citations

Read the official announcement
Raise the visibility of Your Web Stories

Download the playbook:
Web Stories Experience Playbook (PDF)

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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